Design Center of the Americas faces $173M foreclosure lawsuit

The interior design center in Dania Beach has had trouble with its loans for years
By Keith Larsen | June 14, 2019 04:30PM

Design Center of the Americas

Design Center of the Americas

Cohen Brothers Realty Corp.’s Design Center of the Americas in Dania Beach is facing a $172.9 million foreclosure lawsuit.

Wells Fargo, acting as a trustee of GE Commercial Mortgage Corp., filed the lawsuit in Broward County Circuit Court on June 4.

The 782,986-square-foot property at 1855 Griffin Road has faced troubles with its loans for years. The lawsuit alleges that Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA) notified the lender in February that it was in default on its loans.

Earlier this week, Trepp reported that a new appraisal cut the value of the property by more than half from $250.35 million to $115 million.

German American Capital Corp. initially made a $185 million loan to DCOTA in June 2005, according to the lawsuit.

In December, an $86.5 million loan secured by the 782,986-square-foot property was marked delinquent, according to Trepp. Then in February, a second loan of $86.5 million was delinquent.

DCOTA was built in 1985 as an interior design showroom, but has struggled to retain tenants amid changing retail habits. It has converted much of the design center space to office property, leasing 100,000 square feet for the headquarters of online pet retailer Chewy.com.

Still, the property was only 64 percent occupied in the third quarter of 2018, Trepp previously reported.

DCOTA has had trouble with its debt since 2012, when a note went into special servicing and terms of the loan had to be modified. The loan’s interest rate was lowered and its maturity date was extended for a two-year term that ended in August 2017. It was then later extended until March 2019.

Cohen Brothers Realty Corp., led by Charles Cohen, holds over 12 million square feet of commercial property nationwide, with notable New York office properties including 3 Park Avenue, Grand Central Plaza and International Plaza.